DriveOhio, Other Technologies Used in Automated Truck Trip Along Turnpike

COLUMBUS, Ohio (News talk 1480 WHBC) – One week ago, a truck carrying groceries largely drove itself on the Ohio Turnpike and other roadways from Pittsburgh to Detroit.

The DriveOhio initiative was a partner in the deployment of robotics and artificial intelligence technologies.

There was an operator on board the semi to make some driving decisions.

It drove behind a lead vehicle that was driven manually.

Here’s the press release from DriveOhio:

(COLUMBUS, OHIO)—DriveOhio, an initiative of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) charged with developing and deploying automated and connected vehicle (AV/CV) technology, and the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC) have partnered with a multi-state coalition to solicit and deploy a state-of-the-art smart logistics project to test Level I automation.

Locomation, a trucking company focused on safety, utilizing the nation’s foremost experts in robotics technology, safety, and artificial intelligence, made a delivery run from Pittsburgh, PA through the State of Ohio via the Ohio Turnpike to Detroit, MI Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.

Travelling more than 280 miles, the company made a delivery of groceries from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Foodbank to the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Foodbank to help ease the pain that this pandemic has brought to citizens.

“In Ohio, we are designing and deploying the transportation system of the 21st century,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

“Safety is our primary concern, and as smart mobility technologies mature, we believe these innovations will make our roads safer. Deployments, like this one, will help to inform future projects.”

ODOT and DriveOhio issued a request for information (RFI) in early March 2020, on behalf of all Smart Belt Coalition (SBC) members, for companies willing to demonstrate truck platooning and/or automated driving operations through the three partner states on roadways operated by the five SBC agencies (ODOT, OTIC, Michigan Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission).

Through the RFI process, the coalition further engaged Locomation, which is developing a trucking technology platform to combine AI-driven autonomy with driver augmentation. This deployment is the successful conclusion of this RFI process.

During the demonstration, two platooning vehicles (tractor trailers) were operated manually on surface streets.

While on interstates and turnpikes, the lead truck was driven manually while the driver of the following tractor-trailer engaged the vehicle’s platooning technology.

This technology augments the driver’s capabilities and enables the vehicle to follow the lead vehicle in the platoon.

Truck Platooning is considered SAE Level I automation.

Both vehicles had an operator on board at all times.